Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

"Lavatories cannot be used below 16k feet on this plane"???

"Lavatories cannot be used below 16k feet on this plane"???

Old Jul 26, 19, 5:52 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Premier Silver, Marriott Gold, Hertz PC, DL Silver Medallion
Posts: 251
"Lavatories cannot be used below 16k feet on this plane"???

Currently on AA1311 and tried to use the lav after boarding (no restroom near gate) and was told by an FA, "the lavatories on this plane don't work under 16k feet, you can't use it, there should have been an announcement at the gate." There was no announcement and I've been on plenty of 737-800s before that haven't had this restriction. Is this crew just petty and full of BS?

I don't fly American a whole lot, but have each of the past few weeks due to work trips to DFW, CLT and MIA, but I'll keep connecting through ATL or ORD and stick with DL/UA if this is SOP.
Elola is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:08 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: California
Programs: AA EXP...couple hotels and cars too
Posts: 3,428
Never heard of such a thing.

Id probably have ignored the FA. But I'm a troublemaker..
Spiff, moondog and meunger11 like this.
Exec_Plat is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:09 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 15
Quite possibly they aren't BSing you. There are a few threads around here about it. Not exactly sure for 738's but it may be similar.

Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
They weren't B-S-ing you...differential pressure is what drives the flushing of the toilets on many airplanes. On the ground (or below 16,000 feet for the A320), you dont have enough of a differential pressure so a vacuum generator is used on the A320 to produce the required pressure differential. In this case, it sounds like the vacuum generator was inop, but once you reach 16000 feet (according to Airbus for the A320 family aircraft), the 'normal' differential pressure would be enough to enable the toilet to flush...

http://www.smartcockpit.com/docs/A32..._and_Waste.pdf
Did'ja know that A320 toilets donít flush til you hit 16,000 feet???
C17PSGR and wrp96 like this.
Drwaz99 is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:17 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Premier Silver, Marriott Gold, Hertz PC, DL Silver Medallion
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by Drwaz99 View Post
Quite possibly they aren't BSing you. There are a few threads around here about it. Not exactly sure for 738's but it may be similar.



Did'ja know that A320 toilets donít flush til you hit 16,000 feet???
I just can't believe that. We're now in a tarmac delay due to weather (thunderstorms in MIA have caused the ramp to close), after which point the pilot has said catering still needs to service the plane before we can depart. Airlines are required to provide working lavatories during tarmac delays, I find it hard to believe the FAA would certify a plane that is physically incapable of providing a working lavatory on the ground.
Elola is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:18 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: DEN
Programs: AA EXP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,784
Originally Posted by Elola View Post
Currently on AA1311 and tried to use the lav after boarding (no restroom near gate) and was told by an FA, "the lavatories on this plane don't work under 16k feet, you can't use it, there should have been an announcement at the gate." There was no announcement and I've been on plenty of 737-800s before that haven't had this restriction. Is this crew just petty and full of BS?

I don't fly American a whole lot, but have each of the past few weeks due to work trips to DFW, CLT and MIA, but I'll keep connecting through ATL or ORD and stick with DL/UA if this is SOP.
Why assume that the crew is giving you BS? Why assume it is SOP? When the most logical explanation is a mechanical fault with the particular aircraft?

I've been on flights where the lavs were inop on the ground and below a certain altitude because the system used to flush is based on pressure, which doesn't work on the ground, and the vacuum system normally used on the ground was broken.
nancypants likes this.
bse118 is online now  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:19 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Premier Silver, Marriott Gold, Hertz PC, DL Silver Medallion
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
Never heard of such a thing.

Id probably have ignored the FA. But I'm a troublemaker..
He has the lavs physically locked. Now, I could easily pop the plate and unlock them, but not worth the fight. Though I would love to be deplaned right now, at least there are restrooms in the terminal.
meunger11 likes this.
Elola is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:39 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: PNS
Programs: DL GM, UA, AA
Posts: 205
I have seen these stories on FT and they are all strange to me. I have flown just as many aircraft types/carriers as the rest of you and not once have I ever seen this happen IRL. There are "always" people using the lav before door close on most aircraft. This just doesn't make sense to me. Even the Mad Dog can "flush" on the ground..
AeRoSpaceman is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 6:39 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Premier Silver, Marriott Gold, Hertz PC, DL Silver Medallion
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
Why assume that the crew is giving you BS? Why assume it is SOP? When the most logical explanation is a mechanical fault with the particular aircraft?

I've been on flights where the lavs were inop on the ground and below a certain altitude because the system used to flush is based on pressure, which doesn't work on the ground, and the vacuum system normally used on the ground was broken.
If the FA had explained that on the initial request my response would have been different. Instead, he simply said that the lavs couldn't be used on the ground as if that was normal and expected, hence my inquiring if it's SOP at AA. They have finally allowed people to deplane to use the restrooms.
Elola is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 7:03 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 211
737-NG’s have a vacuum system to pull waste to a tank in the back. Below a certain altitude (13K if I recall correctly), a blower motor is used to create the vacuum. Above that altitude, the difference in pressure between the outside and pressurized cabin creates the vacuum. Sounds like the vacuum blower motor was INOP and it is acceptable for it to be per the MEL (Minimum Equipment List).
JDiver, moondog, Palal and 7 others like this.
Bay Area Blue is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 8:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Programs: DL 2MM, AA MM, DL Sky Club Life, AA Admirals Club Life, Hilton Gold Life
Posts: 727
Originally Posted by Bay Area Blue View Post
737-NGís have a vacuum system to pull waste to a tank in the back. Below a certain altitude (13K if I recall correctly), a blower motor is used to create the vacuum. Above that altitude, the difference in pressure between the outside and pressurized cabin creates the vacuum. Sounds like the vacuum blower motor was INOP and it is acceptable for it to be per the MEL (Minimum Equipment List).
NIce scientific answer. So why does the passenger care about what goes on below deck. Can't they still take a whizz in the commode anyway?
copperred likes this.
Lomapaseo is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 8:26 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: DEN/BDL/LGA/HPN
Programs: Marriott Ambassador; AA EXP 2MM; AS MVP, Hilton Gold, CH-47/UH-60/C-23/C-130 VET
Posts: 5,174
Originally Posted by Lomapaseo View Post
NIce scientific answer. So why does the passenger care about what goes on below deck. Can't they still take a whizz in the commode anyway?
because if that answer is correct, it won't flush on the ground
C17PSGR is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 8:59 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: PNS
Programs: DL GM, UA, AA
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
because if that answer is correct, it won't flush on the ground
Then why wasn't the OP told the lav is INOP below 16K feet because of a MX issue, not that you cannot use the lav on this aircraft below 16k feet because that is how it was built? That makes a world of difference. Was this announced thru the PA system for the kettles in back who tried to use the lav as well and did they experience the same response? This whole thing sounds like a MX issue that was not told to passengers.
AeRoSpaceman is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 9:04 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: lax
Posts: 3,650
It's up to the CA to explain maintenance issues
JDiver likes this.
skylady is offline  
Old Jul 26, 19, 9:11 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: DEN
Programs: AA EXP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,784
Originally Posted by AeRoSpaceman View Post
Then why wasn't the OP told the lav is INOP below 16K feet because of a MX issue, not that you cannot use the lav on this aircraft below 16k feet because that is how it was built? That makes a world of difference. Was this announced thru the PA system for the kettles in back who tried to use the lav as well and did they experience the same response? This whole thing sounds like a MX issue that was not told to passengers.
OP was told that the lav on this plane did not work below 16K ft. Which was a true statement.

OP choose to interpret it as this is how it was built.

It was a MX issue.

It happens. No need to make a huge deal of it, IMO.
JDiver, C17PSGR, Palal and 6 others like this.
bse118 is online now  
Old Jul 26, 19, 9:41 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Roswell, GA
Programs: AA EXP 2.8m,Lifetime PLT, Hilton Diamond, IHG PlLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 1,804
Great now I have to use the bathroom
thanks FT
fotographer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread